In-law Visit at Graduation

Updated on May 08, 2017
R.G. asks from Cleveland, OH
22 answers

I am having some problems about graduation.
1. I casually said to my husband that I would like to have a big celebration for my daughter's high school graduation, but I did not say anything more or make any plans after that.
2. Then, he got an email from his parents saying they booked flights and are coming to stay with us for eight days, half of which coincide with final exams and oral surgery that my kid has to undergo.
3. I mentioned that all the information on graduation is on the school website and he forwarded it to them and told them to please not arrive until after finals are over and please leave the day before the surgery because we are gone from the house.
4. My concern is that they replied and said they plan on arriving the minute after the last final exam, and they plan on staying until the night before the surgery. Since I never had any say in when they could visit, I would like them to arrive in the evening at the graduation ceremony because my daughters and I will be preparing all day for the ceremony; using the bathrooms and going to get our hair and nails done. Secondly, I would like to have the grandparents leave a full day early because I want to have time to clean the house. They are diabetic and grandpa has prostate cancer. They have special diets and use the bathroom at all hours. They have complained about my meals in the past, ask my kids about boyfriends and behaviors with boys, which my daughters find uncomfortable. They also wake at 5 a.m. each day. They also clip their fingernails on our carpet in the living room and use the bathroom without putting down the lid. They never wash their hands after using the bathroom and sometimes forget to flush.
5. I looked up etiquette solutions and it says that the husband has to talk to his parents and have them adjust their schedule. These solutions also say that we should offer to pay for hotels or what not for them. However, my husband refuses to do that. When I showed my husband a draft email I want to send to his parents with new dates, he threatened to cut off my credit card and cell phone if I sent it to them. He said the decisions have been made and everything is final.
6. My kids do not know about any of this because it would upset them to know their grandparents will be taking over their bathrooms, and the house, when they stay. I emailed my mom and asked if she was planning on coming. When I told her about the in-laws visit and the date restrictions, she decided that I would be under too much stress and so she is not coming. I honestly do not see why my husband cannot just talk to his parents. My husband has not spoken to me or my kids for three days because of this tension.
Please advise.

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So What Happened?

Thank you for all the replies. Here is the bottom line:
Their visit was decided without my input. My kids won't be happy to see them because it upsets my kids' sleeping and bathroom arrangements. I would like an extra day to clean up after them, and I want them showing up a day later and leaving a day earlier. So, they planned on staying eight days (without ever discussing this with us) and I really only can have them stay for three. Without asking me, my husband told them they could stay for five days. After I said that that would not work, he said is not changing anything. I want him to ask them to change their schedule to say staying for three is okay but not five. He refuses to do that. Would it be acceptable if I asked them to change their dates instead? This is where he threatens to take away my cell phone and visa if I do this, but I don't care if I am the bad guy. I think it was unreasonable for them to not ask about our schedules and invite themselves to live with us unannounced for eight days.

More Answers


answers from San Francisco on

Your husband threatened to cut off your credit card and cell phone over this?
You have much bigger problems than visiting in laws.
Why not take yourself and your daughters to a nice hotel to get ready and leave your husband to visit and care for HIS parents?

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

ETA: Oh my God - I just read your SWH - are you freaking serious? YOUR HUSBAND THREATENED TO CUT OFF YOUR CREDIT CARD AND CELL PHONE??!? Your marriage is in deep do-do. Your issues aren't your in-laws coming. Your MARRIAGE is your issue. Oh hell no. NOT only NO - but EFF NO. Tell your husband he has two choices. Tell his parents they are staying at a hotel. Or YOU will stay at a hotel. NO KIDDING.

Welcome to Mamapedia - RayG....(are you Raged? that's what I read when I see your name).

Any way - have them stay at a hotel. Tell them that with all that is going on, they need to stay at a hotel while they are here.

Your husband needs to man-up. He needs to put HIS FAMILY first - yes - his parents are his family - however - this is a very tense time as parents have kids leaving the nest and much is going on - preparing for college, etc.

Tell your husband he MUST man up or YOU will stay at a hotel with the kids and HE can deal with them. Stand firm. Don't back down. This is a serious issue. Your husband needs to see what this will do to the family - his wife and kids.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

Wow! How many more visits do you think they will make. You and your kids should be honored they want to be there for the big day. They are family. Treat them as such please because when they are gone, you will miss them.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

This is your first post with us, so it's a little tough to guess at things with no background or history.

Short answers:

Prep your kids to be honored that grandparents are coming. Try to give the grandparents the gift that they need - how many more times will this occur? If they have to give up a bathroom to people they don't see that often, so what?

Prep husband to deal with his parents, including vacuuming up their toenail clippings (not sure what the history is here, but he can cope with it.) It sounds like they are either disgusting or so overwhelmed with their own silly health habits that they have no connection to reality.

Not sure why you have to clean the house AFTER they leave. I'd say to let that go.

If you need to get your hair/nails done, go do it. Not sure why you need to do this for a child's graduation, but if this is a vital tradition in your geographic area, go ahead.

Forget the hotel thing - yes, it would be great, but your husband isn't going to help you here, so you will be the bad guy. Get through the graduation, and then sit your husband down and say you are both going to counseling because you aren't dealing with a husband who gives everyone the silent treatment and because you aren't doing this again with the other kids. In the short run, if your husband has a bad time with even one little thing with his parents, just say, "Sorry, dear, can't help you. I'm too busy with x, y and z with the kids and I'm sure your parents only want to deal with you. Buh-BYE!" Please ask your mother to reconsider. You need her support and it's awful that she will miss the graduation.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Columbus on

I don't think that there's any way you can really get out of this without looking like the bad guy. It may be one of those situations where you just have to make the best of it. I agree that it's a bit much, but I think that there's a bigger issue in the way that you and your husband interact that isn't going to be resolved prior to graduation.

Can you give his parents their own bathroom to use and explain that you need to keep the other bathrooms free for the kids to use? Hire a housekeeper to come a few times each week to tidy the house up, and then deep clean the house after they leave.

Ask your mom to reconsider coming. Get a hotel room for her, and you and the kids can hang out there whenever things get to tense at home.

Your daughter may be the star of graduation, but every star has a supporting cast that helped them get them to that point. Her grandparents are part of that cast, and they deserve to be part of the celebration.

Good luck!

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Santa Fe on

Deep breaths! You are being totally unreasonable in my opinion. Let them come and live your life like you normally do. Have your husband pick them up. Put them together in one room. Don't worry about cleaning the house. Have your husband take him mom to the grocery store the next morning after they arrive to pick out foods they like. His parents will not be around forever you know. Anytime you all can spend with them and they can spend time with your kids is special. I am getting vibes off of you that you are someone who stresses out very easily. Don't worry about your daughters being uncomfortable if the grandparents ask them if they have a boyfriend. This is normal grandparent behavior. They are just trying to get to know their grand kids. Laugh it off. Teach your girls to laugh it off...not get stressed about it. The kids can share a bathroom...come is not that big of a deal. Please. Relax. It is super special to have the grandparents there at this time.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

From an outsider' s perspective it sounds like you just don't like them and are looking for excuses not to have them around. You are going to be using all the bathrooms and preparing all day for graduation? You can't step out for a minute if they need to use the facilities?

Every time I read things like this I just pray my future daughter-in-law and I will have a good relationship.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

You and your mom should get a nice suite of hotel rooms for the five days and bring your daughters there whenever you want. Use those bathrooms to get ready.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

Oh man, I'd be pissed, too . . . If I was your husband! Yikes, woman, they can't stay with you because of "final exams" and "nail appointments?" Because they use the bathroom too much? Shame on you!

I actually feel sick that as a grandma myself, that one of my children would ever be bullied into not letting me see my grandchild graduate because their spouse was a selfish brat. No wonder he hasn't spoken to you - my kids would be DEVESTATED if a spouse put conditions on me visiting.

They already agreed to arrive the day after exams are over and leave before the surgery - they've compromised enough and so has your husband.

Grow up.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

Grandparents want to celebrate their grandchildren's accomplishments. We are proud of them. Some grandparents are close enough to be able to travel and visit all in one day. Others like your inlaws can't do that.

Your hubby already talked with his parents and they have adjusted their plans. You know their schedule ahead of time so I think you might want to adjust your attitude about this and just welcome them to celebrate this with your family. Yes their lifestyle is different than yours. Yes you might be a little put out for a few days. Yes its annoying that they didn't ask you first. But these are your husband's parents.But yes these people are important to your hubby and you need to treat them with respect as do your children. They won't be around forever.

So I would straighten up a bit but not go overboard. I would tell the kids that their grandparents might forget to flush or put the seat down and that's not the end of the world. I would buy disinfecting wipes at Costco and wipe down all knobs, switches, remotes, etc every night since they don't wash their hands after using the bathroom. I would stop spinning my wheels on keeping them out and instead use my time focusing on important things.

Marriage is compromise. This isn't the hill you want to die on is it?

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Springfield on

this situation right here is why i am glad to live in a small house that cannot accomodate overnight guests. i cannot and will not allow others to room in with us at our house. we don't have the space.
They should of asked, your husband should be more understanding and not try to controll you by shutting off your phone and credit card.. thats just manipulating.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

The issue is - you need to run plans past each other before you invite guests to the house. My husband wouldn't do this to me, and I wouldn't do it to him.

Don't focus on all the details (the gross toe nail clippings, etc.).

I think you just work with the plans as they are now, and say, going forward, we check with each other first.

I would invite your mom. Why deny her and your child the benefit of having her there because of something your husband did? Have your mom stay in a hotel.

I don't personally care for my in-laws too much but that's because my husband doesn't and they have a strained relationship. It's all about compromise. We went to counselling many years ago - husband and I are the unit who decides things together. This happens BEFORE outside people affect our family. So that's what I would focus on going forward. Be a team.

Eight days seems quite long. I get you. After they have gone and time has passed, talk to your husband and say what you need. If you say it like that (I would prefer 5 days..) then it's not complaining. You're being assertive and being clear.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

I'd have your mom stay in a hotel nearby. If your husband wAnts to accommodate his parents, I don't see why you can't have your mom there. Let your husband handle his parents and clean up after them. Have some of your kids stay with your mom so they can get ready or whatever and enjoy the time. Your husband can handle them if he wants them there for the whole time. You have other things to do( which you've told him) .

I would never allow my husband to treat me or my son that way. It's abusive and disrespectful.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

If they can book flights - they can book a hotel too.
Say you're glad they are coming but under no circumstances can they stay in your house.
Tell Hubby to tell them NOW so they can get their arrangements finalized.
If they show up at your doorstep with baggage in hand, hand them a map to a local hotel and tell them to call you when they are settled in.
I like mamazita s idea.
You and the kids get rooms at the hotel and let Hubby take care of his folks at home.
After all this is over, consider some marriage counseling.
Your husband is making some pretty heavy handed decisions for the whole family.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Atlanta on

Wow. Your husband threatened to take away your cell phone and cancel your credit cards? If Tyler did that to me? I think I'd show his butt to the door and change the locks. That's VERY immature.

When you told your husband you wanted a "big celebration" did you give him ANY MORE details? Did HE invite his parents or did they invite themselves? That right there is the information ^^I^^ need to make a "judgment" call. If they invited themselves? WAY out of line. If you told your husband you wanted a huge celebration and he invited them? YOU are just as much to blame as HE is.

You and your husband MUST learn to communicate. This is HUGE.
How long have you been married for?
I've been married over 25 years. I know that there are times I don't talk with Tyler and tell him exactly what I want. I forget that he can't read my mind.

We have space for visitors. We've got land. We built a guest cottage (tiny, like 750 sq ft) on our land last year. It has a bedroom, bathroom, living room and small kitchenette. We built it in case our MIL needs to move in. She doesn't want to live "WITH" us as she wants to feel like she's still doing it on her own. However, she is 80 years old and doesn't need a 4K sq ft home anymore. Neither Tyler or I want to see her in a living facility.

We do have a guest room IN the house as well. IT has its own private bathroom. EVEN with that? I don't like people staying IN the house past 4 days. I don't even like MY parents staying for more than 4 days. Yes, MY parents.

This isn't about having family celebrate. This is your husband not cutting his apron strings and respecting you and your marriage. Yes, he asked them to cut back and they did. That's nice. But he didn't put YOUR needs nor that of your family FIRST.

Did you bother to ask your daughter what SHE wanted for her graduation from high school? If not. You should.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

Any husband that says "I will cut off your credit card and your cell phone" is an asshat and can't be reasoned with.

Whether I think you are in the wrong or he is doesn't matter. He's not willing to discuss it with you without resorting to a temper tantrum and silent treatment.
What a jerk.

You ALSO kind of sound like a jerk. They are old. They have cancer and diabetes. And you are complaining about nail cutting and using the bathroom?! Gosh...hope you don't have any medical issues as you get older. Hope your children's spouses don't gripe about when you go to the bathroom.


1 mom found this helpful


answers from Portland on

Does your husband often act like this? Of couTse he loves his parents. Apparently it's more important for him to please them than you and the kids. That's the message I get.

It's outrageous for him to take away your access to credit, take you off the cell phone account and not speak to you and the kids.

I suggest you hand your husband your phone and credit card. Call his bluff.d take money out for expenses first. Tell your husband that you will not have them stay with you and readons why. Be sympathetic to his feelings. Don't argue. Tell him you would welcome vists as they fit in yours and the kids schedules
that this is a very busy and stressful time for you. You wish it were different. Be kind. Be cordial. Be strong.

Your house and your need for less stress is reasonable. I wonder if your husband invited them and feels embarrassed if he changes the plan. Perhaps, he'd allow you to kindly talk with them about being unable to have them for this long. There is the problem that changing tickets will cost more to deal with.

I''m a strong and independent women. I would not stay with a man who tried to control me. If you've accepted his attitude and behaviour up until now, this is probably not the time to take a stand. However, I would be sure to plan for ways to see that you and the kids have what you need. I'd change as many of the plans as possible. I'd not cook meals, do dishes, or try to keep house neat. I would be friendly in an impersonal way. I'd probably eat many of my meals our or have food on hand that you and the kids could eat without actually fixing a meal. I suggest you do what you want to do instead of doing what is expected.

Wives are not obligated to give up themselves to please a husband who does not consider your feelings and your needs.

After this visit, I would get counseling to learn how to relate to your husband in a way that still takes care of you.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

He's right, you're wrong. I'm sorry that you don't like them and think they're disgusting. But they're his parents and he has invited them. By the way, graduation isn't about you and your hair and your nails. You can do your nails the day before or even earlier that week.

The day they arrive? If you need hair and nails done and can't do them if anyone is in the bathroom then you need to make appointments at a salon. Can't you paint your nails in your own bedroom? Can't you do her hair in the living room?

When we have a recital or performance coming up our dining room looks much like a salon. I have bobby pins and hair spray and brushes and makeup and nail polish and more, all over the table top. Plus curling irons and all sorts of other things are laying about too. Never a problem because I plan ahead and have everything ready when we start doing her hair and makeup before we ever think about being time to dress and leave.

How about you go stay in a hotel the day before the appointment, that way you won't even see the house until they're gone.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Anchorage on

You need to realize that your husband loves his parents just as much as you love yours. He compromised by cutting 3 days off their trip, now you are the one being unreasonable. And I hope you have not dragged your kids into this with your attitude about it, of course they will not be excited to see grandma and grandpa if they know you are miserable about it, but if you make it seem fun and exciting to have them come the kids will also be excited.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Jacksonville on

I hesitate to respond at all, b/c the entire way this has been dealt with from the beginning seems abnormal to me. How far away are his parents? Do they have to book flights or are they driving in? Does husband EVER actually talk to them about plans/visits, or is all his communication with them via email? Do they ever actually discuss such things, or is it all just an exchange of detailed information and his parents decide what they are doing and inform of their decision? Has this always been the pattern?

In our home, we discuss these things. If we haven't, when we talk with our parents/extended family, we tell them that we haven't had a chance to discuss it yet, and EVERYTHING is tentative until we do (on both ends... my husband and I, and if I'm talking to my mother, she has to discuss with my dad or vice versa for example). Then after talking with spouses, we talk again and discuss what works best for each of us and if there are any conflicts we again let it be tentative until we've talked to confirm with spouses. Everything is tentative until we agree on the details. Always.

It doesn't sound like that is how your husband communicates with his parents.

It also sounds like you have a different relationship with your husband than the way I relate with my own. There is no circumstance in which my husband would attempt to threaten me by "cutting off" the credit card or bank account or cell phone or anything else. That would be akin to asking for a divorce in our house. It really would. He is not my gatekeeper/rulemaker. Everything that is his is mine, and everything that is mine is his. He would not dream of telling me what I can have or not have or spend or not spend, unless he was truly acting toward a divorce and legally dividing our assets and debts. The fact that your husband used that threat against you over a simple disagreement is concerning. Is normal in your relationship? Not necessarily the credit card and the phone... but other types of threats if he doesn't get his way?

I personally think you might be overly concerned about the bathroom schedule thing, but I would not be thrilled to have inconsiderate people using my shared restroom for more than a day or two, and I would consider offering renting them a hotel just for that reason... not wanting to deal with cleaning up behind them when you have a lot of other activity going on. You didn't specify the oral surgery, but if it's something like wisdom teeth, you might be over dramatizing that a bit. For the most part, you'll take her, wait, pick her up and bring her home, and then she'll sleep, stay in her room and watch TV and eat jello and soup for a day or two. That's about it. Not really much for you to do or worry over.

In general, I don't see why the plans *need* to be changed, but I think the way these plans have been arrived at are an issue, and your husband's response over your unhappiness with them is concerning. I'd focus on THOSE issues, rather than who wins the details of this coming visit. Kind of a shame, though, that your mom will miss her granddaughter's graduation due to his parents' visit. How far away is she? Can you get HER a hotel room? It might do you good to have her nearby to give you someone to vent to a bit, if this plays out the way it looks like it might.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I was kind of on your side until I reread your post.
The problem is in your first sentence. You tell your husband "you" want a "big celebration" then give him no details, specifications or expectations of what you want.
Then, instead of talking with your husband again about your expectations for this celebration including, specific dates that "you" want company, you decide to show him the school website full of dates that he can draw his own conclusions about and then communicate to his parents.

Even when your in laws let you know they booked dates, you did not take it upon yourself to speak up!
Clearly you knew then that you did not want them as houseguests.

No one can meet your expectations if you don't communicate them clearly, which you did not.

Getting mad at everyone and drumming up all this drama in order to get your way is really passive aggressive. As are your husband's threats of taking away your cell phone and credit card. I can understand his frustration at you set him up to fail without giving him details of your plan. Then when he makes plans, and they don't meet your expectations, you expect him to change them, again without communicating what you really want.

You and your husband have terrible, horrible communication which reduces you both to act like children and be passive aggressive. What a horrible thing to teach your children.

I hope to goodness that you all can remember that this is a celebration for your daughter. No wonder the kids don't want you all under one roof!

Grow up!

Yes, this was planned without your input because you did not communicate any input!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

They already booked flights and modified them once--they're probably not going to do it's costly. Second, your husband is an a$$ for the comment in #5. Totally inexcusable. Finally, you stand your ground and book them into a hotel--DONE! I'm sad your mom is going to miss graduation.

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